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eG Foodblog: David Ross - Black Pearls of Gold


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I know, I'm just like you when it comes to spices. We buy more than we need. It goes stale, and we keep the bottle on the shelf for 15 years. Cumin that is 15 years old has absolutely no flavor. And yes, I've heard the experts say that we should only buy a small quantity of the spice we need, otherwise what's left in that big jar goes stale. I guess I can't help my habit of buying big when it comes to spices. I buy a $4.00 bottle of Cream of Tartar only to use a teaspoon every three months when I make biscuits.

If it makes you feel any better, David, the Cream of Tartar is good forever! That and your baking soda! :wink: Now the baking powder on the other hand....keep it dry!. :raz:

Great blog so far! I can't wait to see what's up in the PNW. I used to live in Eugene, OR and I remember one day a friend was asking me what food items I missed most about NC (where I'm from, and it was barbecue, thanks!) and then what I thought was the best food item in Oregon, and all I could say was "the produce"! I still miss the strawberries!

Anne

ps I would really like to know what airline you work for...free wine and beer? And good wine and beer at that!? :blink:

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David, thanks so much for showing us such detailed photos of your kitchen!

This blog is of particular interest to me since I lived in Spokane until about three years ago. I'm wondering, will we get to see your favorite places to eat in town? Any preference for grocery shopping? I used to go to the Huckleberry's and the Rosauer's on the lower South Hill...

And the huckleberries, I'm so jealous! We used to go every year when I was a kid and pick gallons and gallons of the things, backbreaking work that is. Now what I wouldn't give to pick them every summer. My mom brings me frozen from her stash, but it's not the same. :sad: I can't wait to see what you do with them!

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Huckleberries are simply the most flavorful little beauties you will ever taste.  In fact, I actually have goose bumps right now as I write to you about huckleberries-they are that precious to me.

You and me both. I covet them and wait for them to start showing up at the farmers markets. Then I buy a truckload and vac-seal them so I can have them all winter long :rolleyes:

OK, maybe not a truckload, but a freezer-full, yes!

Born Free, Now Expensive

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:hmmm:

MMMMmmmnnnn. Yes. What IS in that beautiful tart? Makes me want to go make a big pot of Kona coffee, and grab a proper knife and a pie server, and invite a neighbor or two...

:biggrin:

Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

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I'm heading to NW Montana in a week, and this foodblog already has me hankering for huckleberry flapjacks and syrup at the Libby Cafe.

This blog is of particular interest to me since I lived in Spokane until about three years ago.  I'm wondering, will we get to see your favorite places to eat in town?  Any preference for grocery shopping?  I used to go to the Huckleberry's and the Rosauer's on the lower South Hill...

Yes, please do share -- and if you have any suggestions heading west (Coeur D'Alene ID, Libby or Kalispell MT), add 'em!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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[Great blog so far! I can't wait to see what's up in the PNW. I used to live in Eugene, OR and I remember one day a friend was asking me what food items I missed most about NC (where I'm from, and it was barbecue, thanks!) and then what I thought was the best food item in Oregon, and all I could say was "the produce"!  I still miss the strawberries!

Anne

Ahh, Eugene, Oregon. Home of the rival University of Oregon Ducks and all things green. I happen to be a graduate of that poor farm school 45 miles to the North-Oregon State University.

I'm told that there are still some hippies living in Eugene, having settled in town after the uprisings on campus in '68. Apparently they have a fondness for 'herbs' in their cooking-specifically a 'wild herb' that they 'dry', then roll up in papers. The finished 'wrap' is best served 'hot-smoked' by the hippies. (Just a bit of fun ribbing of any U of O grads out there from an OSU alum).

My favorite Oregon food item right now is Tillamook Ice Cream.

The Tillamook Creamery is pretty famous in the Northwest, and beyond. Tillamook is on the Northern Oregon Coast just south of Astoria. Not far inland from the beach are lush green meadows where the dairy cows feed. It's that rich grass that makes Tillamook Ice Cream so rich and creamy. The Creamery also makes very good cheddar cheese. The sharp cheddar slices are very good melted over a grilled hamburger. Right now our markets in Spokane are selling the Oregon Strawberry Tillamook Ice Cream. It takes like authentic old-fashioned hand churned ice cream, even though it is probably made in huge vats. There are big chunks of strawberry throughout the ice cream. Delicious.

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Whatever it is in that tart on your fridge shelf, that's what I  want for dinner! :drool:

Thank you so much for the kind remarks about the tart. I'll be posting a full set of photos tommorrow on the making of the tart.

It is a 'Cherry Clafouti'. It's a basic pastry crust formed in a tart shell. I added fresh Bing Cherries that I had pitted and then soaked in 'Kirsch' (Cherry Brandy), overnight. You make a custard of cream, milk, eggs and vanilla bean and then pour the batter over the cherries.

The Clafouti bakes in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes. The cherries keep their shape but soften as they bake. The custard gels into a soft pudding. You let it cool and then dust it with powdered sugar and serve it with ice cream or whipped cream. It's a French recipe I do every year when the Cherries come into season.

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When I got back to Spokane this evening an employee stopped me in the airport to ask me about how to cook salmon in a particular way. As I mentioned earlier, there are some positives about my long commute-one of them being the people who I encounter that want to talk about cooking. Many of the employees I work with know about my love of food and cooking and it pleases me to no end that they approach me with questions about cooking at home.

The employee that I spoke to had a recipe for cooking Copper River Salmon in a dry cast iron skillet with dill. He wanted to put some sprigs of dill in the bottom of a hot skillet, then put the salmon on top of the bed of dill and roast it in the oven "for 30 minutes." Yikes!

He actually caught me off guard at first because I don't think what he was suggesting to do to the salmon would have been kind to such an expensive and rare piece of fish.

I suggested that he buy some sprigs of fresh rosemary and then soak them in water. Then heat up the cast iron skillet. Drain the rosemary sprigs and then put them in the hot skillet and immediately put the filet of salmon on top of the rosemary. I told him that dill goes well stuffed into salmon or in a sauce, but tender dill would be incinerated in a hot cast iron skillet. I suggested the rosemary would create a hint of herbal smoke as the salmon roasted.

I said it was important to keep the salmon moist by drizzling it with some olive oil, lemon juice and then season the filet with salt and pepper. I told him to put the skillet in a hot oven, about 425 degrees, and roast the salmon about 10 minutes for medium rare. I told him to touch the salmon after 10 minutes to test it for doneness. If it was too soft, it would be too rare. I suggested medium-rare would be best for Copper River Salmon.

I told him to report back to me next time he saw me as to how the salmon turned out. Let's cross our fingers that his dinner tonight is a success.

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Hi David: waving at you from the left side of the state. Now I understand how you know so much about the Seattle food scene even though your description says Spokane!

Thanks for telling everyone about huckleberries so that you drive the price up! {LOL} Yes, they are a summer staple, and a delicious one at that. :raz:

Looking forward to the rest of the week.

Cheers,

Carolyn

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

J.R.R. Tolkien

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Hi David:  waving at you from the left side of the state.  Now I understand how you know so much about the Seattle food scene even though your description says Spokane!

Thanks for telling everyone about huckleberries so that you drive the price up! {LOL}  Yes, they are a summer staple, and a delicious one at that.  :raz:

Looking forward to the rest of the week.

Cheers,

Right back at you. Coming from a foodie, I proclaim Seattle to rightly be one of America's great food and restaurant cities. While we have a minority of fine restaurants in Spokane, most of our really good restaurants are old-fashioned Mom and Pot joints. Seattle on the other hand, has many, many good restaurants in many diverse ethnic cuisines. One of my favorite Seattle restaurant's is Tom Douglas's 'Dahlia Lounge.' If any of you travel to Seattle this year, go to 'Dahlia Lounge' for a real taste of the Northwest. I've cooked with Tom at a couple of Foodie events, and he's judged my food for a TV Show on PBS. (More on the PBS Show later this week). Tom is a big, affable guy who really knows the foods of the Northwest and how to use them at their peak in season. Kudos to Seattle's great restaurant community.

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David, I am enjoying this blog very much. I must commiserate with you about the tupperware pieces that come out at night. We are constantly losing either the lid or the bowl.

Looking forward to some LV talk as well.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I'm heading to NW Montana in a week, and this foodblog already has me hankering for huckleberry flapjacks and syrup at the Libby Cafe.
This blog is of particular interest to me since I lived in Spokane until about three years ago.  I'm wondering, will we get to see your favorite places to eat in town?  Any preference for grocery shopping?  I used to go to the Huckleberry's and the Rosauer's on the lower South Hill...

Yes, please do share -- and if you have any suggestions heading west (Coeur D'Alene ID, Libby or Kalispell MT), add 'em!

Nice to hear from you! I shop at Huckleberry's on the South Hill when I want to get some very good seasonal, and unique, produce. As you remember, they have a wonderful wine and beer shop and excellent fresh seafood. Their cheese counter is the best in Spokane.

I recently shopped there and bought some fresh, locally picked, morels. They were only $26 a pound. The first morels were puny and dried up and were selling for $45 a pound fresh! Outrageous. I waited three weeks and the price had come down to a reasonable point. I also found some unique fruit oils (as opposed to extracts), that I needed for a pudding recipe. The Orange Oil was so intense I only needed a couple of drops to flavor the pudding base.

Rosauer's is better than ever. Everyone-Rosauer's is a locally owned grocery store that is independently owned. It is part of the 'Western Family' co-op of local stores in the Northwest, but the stores have that old-fashioned, family type feel. They are definately better than Albertson's or Safeway.

The Rosauer's on the South Hill you used to shop at has just been remodeled and it is wonderful. When you find out where the 'old people' shop in town, you know it's a good store. I'm not bashing old people. I'll be one someday. I'm saying that elderly shoppers go to grocery stores with good quality food. Rosauer's has a butcher shop and the type of old style bakery that you rarely see in most of today's supermarkets.

I had to laugh at a little old lady in the wine section. She asked the wine sales person for a "bottle of red wine to go with spaghetti." That was cute, and wonderful. The lady was directed to two choices of moderately priced Merlot from which to choose. I doubt you'd see that personal touch from someone stocking wine at the Walmart Supercenter.

Now for a couple of recommendations at Couer'd Alene. Downtown on Sherman street across from the Resort, try to get into Hudson's Hamburgers for lunch. The Idaho legislature recently gave them a special commendation for being in business over 100 years. They serve burgers. That's it. No fries. Burgers. Very good burgers.

If you have an evening to spend, I'd recommend Beverly's, the signature restaurant at The Resort. They use many local, seasonal products. And while it isn't exactly the season yet, you may get lucky and find an Elk Tenderloin with Huckleberry Sauce on the menu.

Have a good trip.

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David, I am enjoying this blog very much. I must commiserate with you about the tupperware pieces that come out at night. We are constantly losing either the lid or the bowl.

Looking forward to some LV talk as well.

Great to hear from you and thanks again for the encouragement to go to Wing Lei in Las Vegas. I plan on talking about the dining scene in Las Vegas later this week when I have a full day to devote to the topic. I've got some photos and the menu to share from the private dinner at Guy Savoy I attended, and the menu and some comments on a private winemaker's lunch at Alex at the Wynn. Let's see if I remember, there were lunches at 'Noodle Asia' at The Venetian, 'Noodles' at Bellagio and a private lunch and talk about Food Writing at 'Sensi' at Bellagio. Breakfasts we'll chat about were at 'Bouchon' at The Venetian and 'THe Buffet' at the Wynn. We'll compare pastries from 'Jean-Phillipe Patisserie' at Bellagio, 'Tintoretto Bakery' at The Venetian and 'Lenotre Paris' at Paris Las Vegas.

Good Lord. I'm running out of time already!

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So I see this blog is going to be the berries! And salutations from one scribbler to another!

I am so excited that a fellow Washingtonian, (is that a word?)

Not only is it a word -- it's a magazine!

DC's city magazine, to be specific.

Huckleberries are simply the most flavorful little beauties you will ever taste.  In fact, I actually have goose bumps right now as I write to you about huckleberries-they are that precious to me. They are about half the size of a blueberry and range in color from red to purple to black.  I can't really describe the flavor of a huckleberry other than to say it is sweet yet tart, much more tart than a blueberry.  What sets the huckleberry apart in my opinion is it's fragrant aroma-a cross between rose, orchid and just about any other tropical flower you can name.  The scent is unmistakeable, and wonderful.

If you smell a huckleberry, the aroma will be forever stored away in your senses and then, even 10 or 20 years later, if you smell another huckleberry it will transport you back to that original huckleberry sensation. 

The subtitle to my blog-Black Pearls of Gold-is in honor of how highly I prize the huckleberry.  We pick them wild just a mere 20 miles out of downtown Spokane, our main competition being black bears and grizzly bears.  We'll visit more about huckleberries later this week-how my Grandmother used to buy them from an American Indian woman who sold them door to door out of a hand-woven basket, how to cook them and where to buy them.

So at this time of year, are you a huckleberry hound?

I have a sis in Vancouver, Washington that regularly sends me Marionberry Jelly. Amazing.

I see Peter the Eater beat me to the pun. ***** set me up. :angry::wink:

Airline food, or what is still served on planes, is awful.  The only food served is barely edible, whether it is served in first class or sold in coach.  If Rold Gold pretzels are better than 'real food' you know you are in trouble.  Some of the airlines have gone to the buy on board concept-a 'wrap' sandwich with a processed turkey roll and wilted iceberg lettuce come to mind.  And don't forget they 'give' you the condiments for 'free'-an aluminum packet of mayonnaise and maybe one of mustard.

At our company, a regional airline, we at least have kept a measure of service onboard-and kept a measure of integrity.  We were the first airline to serve Starbuck's coffee and that is when Howard Schultz was just a guy selling coffee in Seattle.  Today he's a billionaire and trying to put a Starbucks in every city that has running water-in the world.

We are also the only airline that serves complimentary wine and micro-brews on every flight.  Our micro-brews and wines only come from small producers native to the Northwest.  We have recently served some very good Chardonnays and Merlots from the Walla Walla Valley in the Southeastern part of Washington State.

Our snacks tend to run to the pretzel and snack mix category, but we occasionally serve items made by local companies.  For example, we usually serve Fisher State Fair Scones in August in celebration of the local Fair season.  Fisher scones have been sold at fairs in the Northwest for something like 100 years.  We usually have them delivered to the airports fresh and serve them on longer flights. 

Now speaking of Marionberries from previous posts, they play a part in Fisher scones.  I remember as a kid going to the Oregon State Fair in Salem and having a fresh hot Fisher scone straight out of the oven. They were filled with fresh Marionberry jam from berries picked not far from the fair.  They weren't the heavy, thick texture of scones in most bakeries today.  The Fisher scones were always soft and buttery, more like a fluffy biscuit than a hard scone.

Might I know what airline you work for, and whether it is possible to fly it from Philadelphia to Seattle? (As you say it's a regional airline, I imagine the answer to that last question is "No.")

Frankly, given that airline food has been pretty bad for as long as airlines have served food, I'm perfectly happy with the packets of peanuts and snack crackers Southwest Airlines hands out.

Let's move into my home and take a look at where the cooking takes place.

I don't know why people are so curious as to the size of your home.  Have you ever had a complete stranger ask you about your house and "how many square feet is your home?"  As if the bigger the size of your home means anything about you as a person.  I guess some people think that bigger means better.  What's that saying-"it's not how big it is but how you use it?"  In the case of my house, and my kitchen, size doesn't matter. 

There's no Wolf Stove, no Gaggeneau, no Thermidor side by side.  Do you need a 1500 square foot kitchen to stir risotto?  That's my defense.  While it would be nice to have the means to outfit a restaurant quality kitchen in a home, I make do with what I have.  And I do a pretty good risotto in this little space.

The entire house is 950 square feet.  Quite adequate for a middle aged bachelor.

The kitchen takes up about 72 square feet of the house-measuring 7 1/2 feet wide by 9 1/2 feet deep.

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[...]

There is a small dining area in off to one end of the living room.  When I moved in it looked like the inside of a barn that was 60 years old.  I put down new hardwood floors, wainscoating, moulding, the drapes and new lighting. 

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I can relate to both the size of your kitchen and the unpretentiousness of its equipment. Nice dining nook, too!

If you are in my age demographic, anything over 49, you certainly are familiar with the old-fashioned 'Spice Islands' rack that our Mother's had in their kitchens in the 1960's.  Spice Islands still makes and sells the spice racks and I think it fits the decor, or lack thereof, of my 1940's kitchen.

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I know, I'm just like you when it comes to spices.  We buy more than we need.  It goes stale, and we keep the bottle on the shelf for 15 years.  Cumin that is 15 years old has absolutely no flavor.  And yes, I've heard the experts say that we should only buy a small quantity of the spice we need, otherwise what's left in that big jar goes stale.  I guess I can't help my habit of buying big when it comes to spices.  I buy a $4.00 bottle of Cream of Tartar only to use a teaspoon every three months when I make biscuits.

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I'm 48 and I remember those racks too. However, neither my mother nor my grandmother had one -- and we had a 1964 Home Show Special kitchen installed in what had been the rear sun porch of my childhood home in Kansas City; I think that's 1960s enough. (Fortunately, the great Harvest Gold and Avocado kitchen craze didn't occur until the 1970s.)

Here are some shots of what's currently living in the refrigerator.

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These are photos of drawers that hold some of my tools.

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Thank you for upholding the grand fridge shot tradition -- and for one-upping it with utensil-drawer photos!

This happens to be the top of the microwave which I use as a storage shelf for some Asian sauces and oils.  Hey, when you have limited space you use every inch you can get.

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Remember I said this morning the blog would be personal?  How more personal can one be than to expose their dreaded tupperware rack in public? 

I take lunch to work every day, usually in tupperware.  It sure looks cool carrying your lunch in tupperware in a Walmart plastic bag through the airport doesn't it?  And I call myself a cook! 

Where do tupperware lids go?  If you know, let me know.  About every three months I find I have more bottoms than tops.  I take my tupperware to work.  I bring my tupperware home.  I wash it, I put it away, then I come back later and there are more lids than bottoms.  It's like one of those bad episodes from 'The Twilight Zone' when the store mannequins came alive at night only to go still during the day.  I think the tupperware comes alive at night, then it flies away and we don't ever see it again.

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1) Your kitchen reminds me of my own in many ways. (There are some pictures of it in my foodblogs.)

2) Somehow, I've always managed to balance my plastic storage containers and lids, which is more than I can say about my checkbook.

My favorite Oregon food item right now is Tillamook Ice Cream. 

The Tillamook Creamery is pretty famous in the Northwest, and beyond.  Tillamook is on the Northern Oregon Coast just south of Astoria.  Not far inland from the beach are lush green meadows where the dairy cows feed.  It's that rich grass that makes Tillamook Ice Cream so rich and creamy.  The Creamery also makes very good cheddar cheese.

I'm sure you're aware that Tillamook has taken their cheese national, and not just in Whole Foods stores. I can find it at my local Acme (Albertson's to you) along with the Cabot, the Heluva Good (New York State) and the Cracker Barrel.

I think I like Tillamook Cheddar even better than I do Cabot, one of Vermont's best Cheddars and for years the best Cheddar you could get in the regular dairy case in Northeastern supermarkets. If Cabot is doing the same thing Tillamook is, you might want to do your own comparison between the two cheeses sometime.

Right back at you.  Coming from a foodie, I proclaim Seattle to rightly be one of America's great food and restaurant cities.  While we have a minority of fine restaurants in Spokane, most of our really good restaurants are old-fashioned Mom and Pot joints.  Seattle on the other hand, has many, many good restaurants in many diverse ethnic cuisines.  One of my favorite Seattle restaurant's is Tom Douglas's 'Dahlia Lounge.'  If any of you travel to Seattle this year, go to 'Dahlia Lounge' for a real taste of the Northwest.  I've cooked with Tom at a couple of Foodie events, and he's judged my food for a TV Show on PBS.  (More on the PBS Show later this week).  Tom is a big, affable guy who really knows the foods of the Northwest and how to use them at their peak in season.  Kudos to Seattle's great restaurant community.

So noted for the next trip I make to visit my brother and niece in Woodinville.

I don't know if you saw either of my foodblogs, but the restaurants I shared with you in them are by and large far from the best Philadelphia has to offer, and they're still very good. Should you ever find yourself on the Right Coast, I would encourage you to visit Philadelphia, whose restaurant scene has grown phenomenally over the last decade or so and also ranks up there among America's great food cities.

That said, I'm looking forward to returning to Seattle. I loved the city as much as I did the dinner I had at Union.

Edited to revise my description of Cabot, as there are some small Vermont producers, such as Grafton Village, that produce Cheddar as good as or better than Cabot's. But Cabot is still among the best.

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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No matter the geography, a man with a black skillet, a bottle of Beau Monde and a breakfast nook has well earned his G.R.I.T.S. Guy credentials. Add a pull-out rack of orphaned Tupperware, and you merit a Ribbon of Honor.

As the resident Southun-er (or perhaps just the loudest), I'm glad to get acquainted with your area and those beautiful huckleberries. To tell the truth, I had always imagined them to be jewelly little knobbed berries, like blackberries, only huckle-flavored.

Now go cook something in that black skillet! :wub:

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This is going to be so much fun. I have never had a Huckleberry but I'm sure they must be wonderful.

Actually have been to Washington only once and that was just the very Southwest corner.

As to a 950 square foot house, I think that's the perfect size for one or even two people. I think the favorite house I ever lived in was that size. Of course I did very little entertaining at that time but the dining room was very large for such a little house.

I loved working in the kitchen which was built like your's. No unnecessary steps.

I'm looking forward to the rest of this blog.

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This is really interesting and informative. Your kitchen reminds me of mine in that I have a galley kitchen. I think it's great for cooking. As an airline executive, can you tell us how you became so involved in cooking on PBS, etc.? Also, with your work schedule, do you get the opportunity to do much entertaining?

Jean

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...in Spokane, most of our really good restaurants are old-fashioned Mom and Pot joints

<raised eyebrows> Sure you didn't spend some extra time in Eugene?? :laugh:

Ha-you caught me. And I didn't think anyone would notice that the smoke from Eugene drifted up to Spokane.

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I guess I can justify writing the blog while also being at work by doing some 'marketing' of my company. That way if the internet police shut me down for blogging at work I'll have a puny excuse.

I work for Horizon Air, which is part of the Alaska Air Group. We are not 'owned' by Alaska Airlines but are Sister companies. Alaska flies the long routes while we fly routes of two hours or less. We fly primarily out of Seattle and Portland up and down the West Coast and into Canada. Alaska has some routes to the East-Newark, Miami, Boston, Orlando, Chicago and Dallas/Ft. Worth. Sorry, no Philadelphia service. We partner with Continental, American and Northwest to name a few of the big carriers.

Through the troubles the airlines have had, Horizon has survived and in fact has grown. We still like to think we have friendly, personal service.

The beer and wine service is really the hallmark of what we present onboard. It is worked out really well for the wineries and breweries. They get the opportunity to showcase their products in the format of an onboard tasting to literally thousands of travellers a day. In turn, the passengers often go home and seek out the wines or beers at their local markets. You couldn't buy the kind of advertising in a newspaper.

When I first started 20 years ago we served fresh sandwiches, fruit, fresh muffins, bagels, really good stuff. Unfortunately as you all know, that is a memory of the past. The food service on airlines will never, ever, be back to what is used to be. You can still get a high-quality, multi-course meal on an airplane-but we're talking first class on Cathay Pacific from London to Hong Kong for about $15,000 US dollars roundtrip. At that price you can't drink enough Krug or Dom.

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David, I come from the tropical jungles of Manila and never had fresh cherries, blackberries, blueberries, etc... until I came to Korea. I, too, have never had huckleberries and I look forward to the day when I can taste one. Great blog and great pics.

I do agree with you and dosconz about tupperware lids and containers, they do tend to migrate somewhere in the Twilight Zone... just like socks. LOL

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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The Cherry Clafouti and use of the cast iron skillet are coming shortly, but in the meantime, I got this tip from my 'Administrative Assistant' yesterday about how to cook Dungeness Crab.

Her family just got back from a fishing adventure in Puget Sound just a few miles from the Seattle airport. They go out for Halibut and Dungeness Crabs.

She told me not to "boil a whole crab live." She apparently takes pleasure in killing defenseless crustaceans, because her method of choice is to take a whole live crab and whack it over a log on the beach. In explicit detail, she went on to talk about how the "green brains of the crab and the lungs and all the guts squirt out" but that the crab is killed instantly. Supposedly this method of death is what allows the crab meat to become bright white when the crab is boiled. I doubt I'll kill my next crab using her technique. I usually buy them whole, already dead and boiled and the meat is white, sweet and delicious.

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No matter the geography, a man with a black skillet, a bottle of Beau Monde and a breakfast nook has well earned his G.R.I.T.S. Guy credentials. Add a pull-out rack of orphaned Tupperware, and you merit a Ribbon of Honor.

As the resident Southun-er (or perhaps just the loudest), I'm glad to get acquainted with your area and those beautiful huckleberries. To tell the truth, I had always imagined them to be jewelly little knobbed berries, like blackberries, only huckle-flavored.

Now go cook something in that black skillet! :wub:

A Yankee and his cast iron skillet. Is that an oxymoron? I'll have to spend some time chatting with you in the future about the secret to Southern Fried Chicken.

The old adage is true-all you need to cook meat is a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Just one. Treat it right and it will last generations. Don't waste your money buying the latest line of Emeril Ware. Sorry Emeril.

Saturday night I did some Pork Chops 'Au Poivre'-coated with black pepper and seared then roasted in the oven. I made the sauce by deglazing the skillet with some Chinese Rice Wine, (didn't have any Sherry on hand), threw in a few sliced shitakes I had left over and then a few glugs of cream. By the way, that cookie jar in the back that serves as my utensil holder is about 50 years old. It was my favorite cookie jar when I was a kid.

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I'll be the Northerner to make even a Southern cook get goose bumps! I tell you this is just about my favorite food photo of all time. What could be better than hot, searing meat in a cast iron skillet!

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I served the chop with potato salad. Nothing fancy with the salad, just yellow new potatoes, dijon mustard, mayonnaise, capers, chives and chopped red pepper. I just cut the potatoes in small chunks, boil them about 10 minutes, drain and then toss with the other ingredients. If I want to get fancy with potato salad I'll add some pitted Kalamata olives and steamed haricot vert.

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